LIVING IN GREECE
COST OF LIVING
The cost of living in Greece is average in comparison to other places in the world. This is based on a comparison of locally collected prices for goods and services applicable to expatriates, converted to USD. The goods and services have been grouped together into categories (baskets) and the cost calculated for each basket in each location.
In Greece, of the 13 cost of living baskets, the cost of healthcare is very low, household low, education average, recreation high, and restaurants very high in comparison to other international locations.
Despite a loud call for health care reform from both the voters and the political establishment, the nation's health care system has received very high marks from the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the UN. However, many citizens prefer private health care for longer-term hospital stays. Depending on the age and nature of a particular hospital or clinic, services range from adequate to excellent. Health care is free and universal for all citizens, as well as for all EU nationals upon presentation of an EHIC card (Formerly the E111 form). For non-EU nationals, only emergency care is provided for free.
A network of helicopter ambulances serves the islands, transporting patients who need immediate attention to the nearest island or city with a major hospital.
The country's pharmacies and medications are of top quality, and pharmacists are highly trained experts in their field. Many medications that can only be acquired by prescription in the US and UK can be purchased without a prescription in Greece. When sick with a simple, common illness, a visit to the pharmacist will provide you with the medication you need. If you are looking for a specific medication, be sure to know its generic name, as brand names might be different. Most pharmacies close on Sundays, but a sign will be posted on the door indicating the nearest pharmacies that are open.
Healthcare provision is different to Anglosphere nations in that many specialists are in the community. GPs are replaced by community pathologists. Hotels and tourist agencies can provide advice on where to go if you are ill.
The Greek educational system is mainly divided into three levels, primary, secondary and tertiary, with an additional post-secondary level providing vocational training. Primary education is divided into kindergarten lasting one or two years, and primary school spanning six years (ages 6 to 12). Secondary education comprises two stages: Gymnasio (variously translated as Middle or Junior High School), a compulsory three-year school, after which students can attend Lykeion (an academically-oriented High School) or Vocational training. Higher Tertiary education is provided by Universities and Polytechnics, Technological Educational Institutes (T.E.I., 1983 ~ present) and Academies which primarily cater for the military and the clergy. Undergraduate courses typically last 4 years (5 in polytechnics and some technical/art schools, and 6 in medical schools), postgraduate (MSc level) courses last from 1 to 2 years and doctorates (PhD level) from 3 to 6 years.
All levels are overseen by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The Ministry exercises centralised control over state schools, by prescribing the curriculum, appointing staff and controlling funding. Private schools also fall under the mandate of the Ministry, which exercises supervisory control over them. At a regional level, the supervisory role of the Ministry is exercised through Regional Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education, and Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education operate in every Prefecture. Tertiary institutions are nominally autonomous, but the Ministry is responsible for their funding, and the distribution of students to undergraduate courses. Currently the Greek government only recognises the degree programmes offered by the state-run universities although there are several private universities and colleges offering degree programmes that are validated and overseen by American, British and other European universities. The Greek government is pressured to recognise these overseas programmes.
All levels of education are catered for by both private and public schools. State-run schools and universities do not charge tuition fees and textbooks are provided free to all students, although, from 2011 onwards, there has been a noticeable shortage in new textbooks, forcing students to either buy stock books from bookshops, or participate in parent-teacher association-run book trades. There are also a number of private tutors schools, colleges and universities operating alongside the state education and providing supplementary tuition. These parallel schools (Greek: φροντιστήριο, frontistirio (singular)) provide foreign language tuition, supplementary lessons for weak students as well as exam preparation courses for the competitive Panhellenic national examinations. Most of the students typically attend such classes (and examinations) at the tutors schools in the afternoon and evening in addition to their normal schooling.